Creating a culture of appreciation

“Every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make me feel important.’” –Mary Kay Ash

When a culture of appreciation is alive in a club, you feel it when you walk into the room. How members greet and interact on a day-to-day basis shows a general feeling of appreciation and mutual respect for one another. Sharing a culture of appreciation involves everyone—and ensures that members remain engaged and invested.

Understand the investment

Volunteers give a part of themselves. They invest their time, energy and skills to make a difference in their communities. Being able to make a difference brings a sense of satisfaction worth more than money. The paycheck for volunteer work performed is much less tangible, but oftentimes more valuable—friendships that develop with those they serve with, a sense of self-worth and the feeling of being appreciated, to name a few.

If the service a club performs comes from the heart, the thanks we express should come from the heart too. Showing sincere, heartfelt appreciation involves taking the time to find out what form of recognition each member finds meaningful. Personally knowing each other will help you tailor your gratitude to each recipient and situation.

Recognizing a person’s value, investment and contribution is key to retaining members—and motivating them to stay invested in your club. Get to know them, why they give of themselves and what they get in return for the energy they give.

Learn more about the difference between awards and rewards. A good mix of both can foster a club experience that inspires members to share it with others.

Let everyone know they are important

Here are some suggestions of how to make members feel valued.

  • Recognize them. If you appreciate someone, tell them. Better yet, show them. 
  • Celebrate together. Doing something simple for personal landmarks like birthdays, Kiwanis anniversaries or promotions can make members feel extra special. 
  • Teamwork. Empower members by providing the support they need to get the job done. 
  • Listen up. Encourage creativity and new ideas, then show respect by listening. 
  • Share it. Keeping members informed at club meetings, via email or newsletters will help them feel like knowledgeable representatives of the club. 
Creating a Culture of Appreciation